Motivated by Purpose


Carter G. WoodsonMany of us spend many hours, days, and years searching for the “one thing” that will sustain our journey in life or help guide our path. What event, circumstance, or idea will provide us with the focus necessary to achieve success? One educator who I look to as an example is Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was a teacher and principal committed to improving the educational experience of a neglected group of students.


Carter G. Woodson’s parents were former slaves, but his life circumstances did not sway him from his education purpose. Woodson educated himself until he entered high school at the age of 20. He finished high school in two years and then completed college two years later. He went on to earn his doctorate from Harvard, the second African-American to do so.


Part of Woodson’s efforts to improve African-Americans’ quality of education later evolved into Black History Month. One of the goals was to help develop an understanding between races and how everyone has a shared value in our contributions to society. The month of February was chosen by Woodson (yes, not given) because it included Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. 


At Thomas Academy, we strive year round to help our students recognize how connection is important in society. And how that connection, along with compassion, builds character, which allows for continued contributions to the benefit of society.


I hope that the purpose and contributions of Carter G. Woodson are inspiring to us all, not just during February, but as an example of what one can accomplish when we have a sincere and intense desire to fulfill our purpose in life.


George Ward III is the Chief Academic Officer and Principal at Thomas Academy.

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